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Are you ready for a PR firm?

Tory Patrick

When I read this article on Fast Company today, I knew I needed to comment.

The Truth About PR Done Right, and What It Does For Your Startup

The article raises some interesting questions for companies to consider.

How do you truly differentiate your new business in a sea of startupsHow do you make a name for your company?

I would argue you could replace “startups” with businesses in general – large or small.

Once you’ve answered those questions, the next step in a PR strategy is why? Why now?

When we do a kick-off meeting with a new client, we always ask, “What separates you from your competition?” Put another way, “What are you doing better than your competition?” The clients that can answer that without batting an eye – well, they are my heroes. It means they’ve thought the whole PR/marketing thing through.

Sure, everyone wants to see their company’s name in print. But are you ready for PR? Maybe you are launching a new product. Most people would naturally think this means you should engage in PR. But are you prepared to speak to the industry and answer questions from editors? Are you ready for an influx of orders? (It’s ok if you’re not. Maybe you are doing a soft launch just to start getting some product out there, which is a strategy in itself.)

A PR firm can make you take a look at yourself and truly determine what makes you different. So you invented the latest widget. Cool. How is yours different? Why should anyone except your mother care?

Don’t get me wrong, I think there are millions of great products and technology companies out there that are doing amazingly awesome things. But without the “so what” factor, these are just millions of products and companies doing average things.

How can you determine the “so what” factor? Here are five questions to ask to determine if you’re ready to hire a PR firm.

  1. What’s your 15-second overview that explains who you are and what you do?
  2. What problem do you believe you solve for your audience/customers? How?
  3. What makes you better than the competition? What do you do better than anyone else?
  4. Imagine you are four months in the future. Success for you will be if...
  5. What are your top business goals for 2013? These can include things like growing sales by X%, landing a major client, increasing web traffic by Y%, etc.

And if the answer to my question at the onset is yes, you know who to call. ;)